Written by Ann Farmer

 

[Ed: Part 2 continues where Part 1 left off. You can read Part 1 here, if you haven’t already done so.]

 

Neighbour spying on neighbour seems strangely familiar in an age when traditional Christian beliefs fall foul of the new woke religion, and ‘free speech’ is a thing of the past. But despite our traumatic religious history, the Remainer caricature of Brexiteers ‘pulling up the historical drawbridge’ is far from accurate, for as well as welcoming Huguenots fleeing persecution in Catholic France, Britain embraced Jews fleeing anti-Semitism and Catholics fleeing the French Revolution, whose pre-Holocaust horrors included an industrial approach to mass murder – the guillotining of nuns, the sinking of religious in barges and their deliberate starvation in rotting hulks, which prompted sympathy among the English (link).  Much later, in the 1960s and 1970s, Britain welcomed Kenyan and Ugandan Asians fleeing persecution (link).

The wokesters of the present age have their own underdogs, or at least issues that they ‘virtue signal’ about, one of the most prominent being ‘race’. Suffering from a severe case of BDS – Brexit Derangement Syndrome – Remainers interpreted the Brexit vote as evidence of racism, possibly explaining the mania for ‘taking the knee’ to the Marxist Black Lives Matter movement.

However, Britain’s history of welcoming foreigners fleeing oppression contradicts the caricature of the UK as an insular, racist backwater. Public dismay about economic migrants entering the country via the Channel – rather than going through the proper channels like real refugees – is not a symptom of xenophobia but a sign of British fairness offended.

True, our Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Danish ancestors entered this country without the requisite paperwork, and as a nation we are a mixture of nations – Irish, Scots, Welsh and English, as well as newer arrivals from the Commonwealth – but this does not mean we should encourage the perilous people-trafficking of economic migrants, which has given genuine asylum-seeking a bad name.

The EU is all for abolishing borders, when as Chesterton remarked: “We have been congratulating ourselves for centuries on having enjoyed peace because we were cut off from our neighbours. And now they are telling us that we shall only enjoy peace when we are joined up with our neighbours.”

The Europhiles’ obsession with ‘minorities’ may stem from the fact that their own opinions are in a minority, consequently they feel more secure when huddling with their fellow minorities on the continent. Back in the 1970s Common Market membership was sold to the electorate on bread-and-butter issues like jobs and trade, but it was more a case of British progressive elites joining forces with European progressive elites, forming a coalition against the common problem – their respective electorates.

The EU hardly prioritises religious freedom (link), and far from representing a Catholic plot, any country tempted in with economic incentives soon embraces the progressive’s New Reformation, whose most significant features – abortion, unfettered immigration and the marginalisation of Christianity (link, link) – are presented as intrinsic to democracy.

Far from ‘embracing diversity’, Common Market entry meant turning our backs on historical obligations to the multicultural, multiracial Commonwealth nations. New Labour encouraged an influx of cheap labour from Eastern Europe; a key idea in Tony Blair’s relaxed immigration policy was ‘to maximise the contribution of migration to the Government’s economic and social objectives’ – or, as one political insider put it rather more bluntly, to ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.’ (link).

It was Brexit that marked a turning outward to the rest of the world, and while the EU has tried to make us pay for Brexit – both financially and in terms of obstruction over Northern Ireland, fishing and any other issue requiring co-operation – it has shown sympathy for Iran (link) and a marked partiality for Communist China (link); but then EU foreign policy seems to consist of being nice to its enemies and nasty to its friends.

The British are a practical people – a nation of inventors and problem solvers, sceptical about utopian ideologies, wacky ideas and wokeness; however when, like old soldiers, individuals and institutions have served their purpose, we tend to lose interest in them.

Shakespeare, Dickens, Kipling, G. K. Chesterton, and even Winston Churchill – all Dead White Males – have been thrown into the dustbin of history, though they could hardly help being white and male, and certainly not being dead. Perhaps it is no coincidence that all were patriots – indeed, Chesterton warned against the movement for world government: “Given this difficulty about quite direct democracy over large areas … the nearest thing to democracy is despotism.” But Brexit may mark a turning point, when the progressive death grip on our culture is relaxed, and we are once again allowed to be as patriotic as any other country – something the egalitarians should surely welcome.

Brexit has been seen as a breaking away from Europe, just like the Reformation, but in fact we are breaking away from the inward-looking Brussels-based bureaucracy. Not only are we making trade deals around the world, but we are also providing hope for other countries struggling against their own governing elites. But it could be that Brexit will start a domino effect within the EU, perhaps starting with the Eastern Europeans, who have suffered under the Nazis and the Communists and know the taste of tyranny from bitter experience.

As Britain defeated the Spanish Armada, helped free Europe from the tyranny of Napoleon and the world from the Nazis, we may help liberate Europe from the tyranny of the undemocratic, bureaucratic, dictatorial EU. In an age of savage punishments, the Reformation claimed martyrs on both sides – Protestants burned as heretics, Catholics butchered as traitors – but now all Christians are regarded as the enemy not only by the progressive liberal Left, the cultural Marxists and the Malthusian Greens, but also by capitalists who see Christianity as a drag on profits by saving people from the need for retail therapy. Needless to say, the EU sees Christian influence on member nations as a threat to ‘European values’ (link).

Nonetheless, the history of religious discrimination and strife in these islands may suggest that the British are indeed intolerant bigots; however, while the Reformation tore the whole of Europe apart, these islands saw nothing like the St Bartholomew’s Day massacres of Protestants in France. Fearing a religious eruption from the Protestant nonconformist side as well as the Catholic, the Church of England trod a fine line between the two ‘extremes’, and in calmer times became the religious umbrella under which all others sheltered against the cold winds of secularism.

We are left with a curious collection of ironies: we burn effigies of the Catholic Guy Fawkes on November 5th even while grumbling about the institution he attempted to blow up; the prayer most associated with Remembrance Sunday – ‘To give and not to count the cost’ – originated with St Ignatius of Loyola, a Jesuit. With the rise of the secular religion of diversity, patriotic songs like Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory are despised as anthems of jingoistic triumphalism, although both were the work of Catholics, historically a despised minority – albeit one not high on the Left’s list of underdogs (link).  Oh, and our premier duke, the Duke of Norfolk, is a Catholic.

With the established Church striving to reach a workable compromise between competing religious factions, arguably, Christianity has manifested itself in good works while the Biblical emphasis on justice seeped into political movements and progressive campaigns for social justice.

And as Yeats wrote over a century ago, ‘The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity’.  While cultural Marxists spend their time and energy destroying the culture they take for granted, social conservatives are too busy living and trying to make a living to defend that culture. Chesterton observed that tradition links ‘the ultimate victory’ of King Alfred over the Danes with the Vale of the White Horse in Berkshire, and Alfred is remembered in tradition ‘because he fought for the Christian civilisation against the heathen nihilism’.  Our generation is fighting against post-Christian nihilism, and as Chesterton warned, if the edges of the White Horse are not constantly conserved it will lose its shape.

We need to revive the bulldog spirit that defeated the pagan hordes as well as the Nazi neo-pagans – the same spirit that prompted us to seize on the stupifyingly boring and complicated issue of the European Union and refuse to let go until we mastered it; now we need to hang on until we have defeated their defeatist narrative.

In The Secret People, his famous poem of 1907, G. K. Chesterton wrote of ‘the people of England, that never have spoken yet’. At the Reformation, the mass of ordinary people was silent, and those that did speak out were brutally silenced; at the Brexit Referendum, the people finally spoke, but nobody listened. However, Chesterton’s ‘secret people’ have continued to speak out; the wheel of revolution has turned back; democracy is reasserted.

At last we are free to decide our own destiny, but we need to use our freedom not only for our own good but for the good of the world, in alliance with likeminded nations; to defeat those old enemies, fear and forgetfulness. We need a true reformation of our broken culture, while in politics, we need to break up the progressive political cartel operating in all parties – a declaration of independence from wokism and a reassertion of the democratic voice of the people. The secret of the Secret People is patriotism, ‘the love that dare not speak its name’ – until now.

One of the many positive outcomes of Brexit is a rediscovery of our history and our heroes, but the danger is that this history and these heroes are being cancelled at an alarming rate. And there is a very real danger that the British will allow Brexit to slip through our fingers because we think it ‘done’ – because of that tendency to junk what no longer serves our purpose. Perhaps our nostalgia for things past can be explained by our failure to appreciate the things of the present.

We may forget the protracted and at times almost agonising process that followed the Brexit vote, when we didn’t know whether we would actually be allowed to leave. Northern Ireland is not yet ‘done’, and the Remainers – now the Rejoiners – will seize on every scandal and blame every negative development on Brexit; they would rejoice to see it fail, even if it meant national ruin.

Brexit was supposed to bring freedom – we were promised a return to free trade, but now there is talk of imposing ‘carbon tax borders’ in a vain but very expensive attempt to make the world ‘zero carbon’. We were told we would regain control of our actual borders, but now seem paralysed as thousands of illegal migrants come over the Channel without passports, even while we are threatened with Covid vaccination passports.

If we fail to get our history right, we might find ourselves succumbing to a new elitist ‘top-down’ revolution posing as reformation – like the ‘woke’ revolution that would erase our history, brought to us by politically correct puritans who, as Chesterton would say, are not very pure; or the eco fascists who would make us poorer and colder, establishing anti-democratic global bodies to enforce ‘Net Zero’ carbon levels, in order to ‘save the planet’ – from us (link, link).

Brexit was not supposed to happen. The EU was meant to be a move away from God and nation on the way to an even more distant and anti-democratic world government – another top-down revolution presented as evolution. But Brexit happened, and it can serve as a beacon of hope for the weak and downtrodden throughout the world not to lose hope, because the impossible is possible. True reformation is the continual conservation of all those things that made Britain truly great – including faith in the half-forgotten God who got us this far, and in family, life and liberty.

When the ‘Europe’ experiment is a mere footnote in history, Brexit will be the future.

 

~~  The End  ~~

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